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Beer Review:
The Red MacGregor
Orkney, OKI, Scotland, UK
By: George Zhen

June 21, 2005

The Orkney Islands of Scotland are steeped in a rich brewing history that dates back to the days when Vikings launched their raiding parties against Scotland and the rest of Europe from that region. The traditional brewing of ales has survived wars, invasions and prohibition to deliver to us today some of the most distinctly drinkable brews Europe has to offer.

The Red MacGregor comes to us from Orkney Brewing, housed in an old Victorian schoolhouse on Orkney. Although they are a fairly new brewing company (established 1988), their brews are a nod to the regional and, in this case, the personal history of the brewers. See, one of the founders of Orkney Brewing, Roger White, is a descendant of the MacGregor Clan whose most famous member was Rob Roy MacGregor (1671 - 1734). When White brewed this wonderful beer, he decided to name it for his ancestors.

This is a drinkable and enjoyable beer experience through and through. It pours nicely with a respectable head and aroma that gives one the immediate sense that this beer is entirely balanced. The color is a deep red that displays striking, almost LED like red streaks when held to the light. As the beer is consumed, there is a perfect trace resonance of foam left behind inside the glass that lasts for nearly 3/4ths of the way down.

The taste is a perfect balance of hops and malt, which is a surprising experience with a red ale. A flavor that makes its way pleasurably to the nose and releases the hops in a elegant, non-overpowering fashion. The finish, if one were to use that term, is not the long-lasting experience of some more sophisticated beers, but sometimes one has to trade that for pure drinkability, which this beer has in volumes.

This beer comes in a single, 500 ml bottle here in the states and rings in at almost 5% ABV. Pick up a couple of these and you'll do fine, although it would be nice to split a six pack of these with a friend for a complete night of goggled fun. It's a manageable, yet fulfilling pleasure to drink.

The Red MacGregor ranks as one of my personal favorites of those we've had since leaving the states. Although I would prefer more ABV, the taste is so nice and full that this could go on all night. To this point at least, this is the best red I've had aside from my wife. Enough said.

Beer Tasting Scorecard
The Red MacGregor
Attribute Score
Head 3
Color 5
Taste 4
Flavor 5
Effect 3
Overall Score 4.0

Thanks to Legends Limited for providing some great information on Orkney Brewing on their website which can be found at

For more information on The Red MacGregor, visit their website at

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